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Full text of "A history of Persia"

54                   HISTORY OF PERSIA                  CHAP.
. The .Achievements of Welid, A.H. 86-96 (705-714).—
The s|iort reign of Welid was one of essential grandeur,
marking as it does the zenith of Moslem power. If a
comparison be desired, it may be said that Abdul Malik
compares with Kobad and Welid with Noshirwan. His
victorious armies marched to the frontiers of China and to
the Indus; while in the West the conquest of Spain was an
even more splendid and substantial achievement. Much
of the credit for these great gains was due to the personality
of the Caliph, whose authority was supreme and whose
word was law from the frontiers of China to the Atlantic.
The Campaigns of Tezid in Gurgan and Tabaristan^
A.H. 98 (716).—Yezid, son of Muhallab, was appointed
Governor of Khorasan to succeed Kutayba, who upon the
succession of Sulayman to the Caliphate had rebelled and
been killed. Yezid's arms were directed in the first
instance against Gurgan,1 the ancient Hyrcania, which
with neighbouring Tabaristan had maintained its inde-
pendence, although it lay across the direct route from
Irak to Central Asia. Yezid captured Dihistan, and drove
the inhabitants of Gurgan into the Elburz, where they
were finally forced to submit; after butchering many
prisoners and ravaging the country he invaded Tabaristan,
the modern Mazanderan. In this campaign he at first
successfully marched through the plain country and occu-
pied Sari. A battle was fought in which the Moslems
routed the enemy, but being lured into an ambush they
suffered such severe losses that Yezid was glad to purchase
his safe retreat for 300,000 dinars. Returning to Gurgan,
which had revolted, he besieged its prince for seven months
in a stronghold situated on a mountain top which was
accessible by only one route. This was probably Kala
Maran, to which I have already referred in connexion with
the Parthian capital. In the end he made prisoners of the
garrison, and was able to fulfil a dreadful vow similar to
that of Khalid by grinding wheat into flour for his bread
with the blood of his victims, thousands of whom also
were impaled along the roads leading to the city.
* For the campaign In Tabaristan, vide Ibn Isfandiyar'a History of Tabaristan* by
Prof. & G. Browne (Gibb Memorial).   The Arabic form of Gargan is Jurjan,